Authentic Pilau Recipe

Pilau Rice also termed as pulao, pilaw or pilaf is a traditional Swahili dish. It’s one of the ancient food existed a while back. Pilau and Biryani are both delicious spiced food, though prepared differently. In this article will look at Pilau, its origin, and preparation in detail.

Most likely pilau originated in India after rice importation at Indus River Valley. They had a long history of eating rice. It has been an essential dish to the Southern United States. It’s now a typical dish all over the world.

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It is prepared using basmati rice, cooked with cubes of meat in a systematic procedure using seasonal, natural spices and other vegetables like onions to get the best of it. A salad green or yogourt likely accompany it.

Preparation and cooking time may take roughly around one hour. Basmati long grain is the best to prepare Pilau Rice. It is vital to follow the right procedure till the end for a perfect mouth-watering dish.

There are several delicious flavors of this dishes. Pilau Rice can be served with your favorite curry or on its own. For swift preparation, it is good to have all the ingredients around and set for you to follow the guidelines swiftly.

Below is a rough guide on how to cook Pilau Rice. 

Ingredients For a Four Serving

1. Basmati rice – 200g

2. Four cardamom pods

3. Two pieces of whole cloves pods

4. 3 black peppercorns

5. 2 tablespoons ghee

6. 1/2 teaspoon salt

7. 1/2 teaspoon thread of saffron

8. 400ml water 

9. 500gms of goat, beef or mutton cubes. 

10. two onions, two well-ripened tomatoes, three cloves of medium garlic.


Using salted water, boil the meat cubes until tender. 

  • Rinse the basmati rice in cold water thoroughly till the water is clean. You will have to wash the rice several in a large bowl while draining it or wash it in flowing water. Leave the cleaned rice to dry for 20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl combine the half spoon saffron and one tablespoon water and set them aside.
  • Using mortar and pestle, crush the cardamom and ginger together. Add 2tablespoon of water for smoother texture to the crushed ginger and cardamom pods.
  • Using a large open sauce, fry the onion with the 2tablespoons of ghee till golden brown.
  • Add the boiled meat cubes. You can now put the half tablespoon of salt in the meat cubes.
  •  Add the garlic and cardamom mixture with peppercorn cloves to the cooking meat. Put the other remaining spices too.
  • Add the sliced tomatoes, let them cook while stirring till they fine cooked to the consistency of the sauce 
  • Cook for 10 minutes while covered with a lid with medium heat, heat it till all grains are golden brown. Stir them thoroughly till they seem slightly fine and blending.
  • Add the cleaned, dry rice grain and mix them thoroughly to the cooking mixture. Do not alter the temperature at this point.
  • Add the 400ml of water while stirring. The rice is not supposed to crumb. Continue stirring till the grains are moving freely in the water. Wait till it boils and then cooks in slightly low heat while covered. These will take 15 – 20 minutes. 
  • Wait till the water is absorbed. There is need to retain some moisture for a better serve. The rice should have cooked thoroughly. When its cooking right, its supposed to be nicely brown with a sweet aroma from the well-cooked spices. The meat cubes are dark in color because of the saffron threads and cardamom pods mixture
  •  Put it in another bowl for a better serve. It’s better to serve it while hot, though it’s also delicious while slightly warm. You can dish it with “kachumbari” It is also called “East African cole slaw” made from freshly chopped tomatoes and well- sliced onions. Sometimes you can add coriander (dhania) leaves for some good aroma. “Kachumbari” is very healthy in a spiced dish.

In conclusion

It is good to also serve pilau with any other curry dish of your choice. It might take some time for preparation, though its a worth meal for you and your family or friends. It’s important to follow the right procedure to avoid cooking incomplete pilau.

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